CINCINNATI (AP) — Once Cincinnati applied a little pressure, everything became easy.

Jacob Evans III had nine points during a run that put Cincinnati in control midway through the second half, and the 24th-ranked Bearcats overcame cold shooting and a sloppy start to beat Albany 74-51 on Monday night.

"In the second half, we wanted to come out and play harder," Evans said. "We came out and tried to turn up the defense. We scored off our defense."

Evans' 3-pointer started a 13-2 run that allowed the Bearcats (2-0) to finally shake loose. They went only 5 of 21 from beyond the arc, but Evans finished with 19 points.

David Nichols scored 13 points and Joe Cremo had 12 for Albany (1-1), which self-destructed with 22 turnovers — 11 in each half. Cremo had eight of them.

"They took the ball out of our hands," Albany coach Will Brown said. "They got real physical with us. I think our inexperience on the perimeter as a whole with our starting group showed a little bit today."

Cincinnati led only 29-27 at halftime as the Bearcats shot 33 percent from the field and got outrebounded 19-15. There was one tie and 10 lead changes, and neither team could make shots consistently. Cincinnati, however, outscored Albany 40-18 over the final 15 minutes of the game.

"The scouting report was that they were limited at the point guard position," said guard Troy Caupain, who had four steals. "So in practice, we worked on getting after each other."

NEW LEADER

Evans had 23 points in the opening win, and led the offense again on Monday, asserting himself as a scoring threat in his second season.

"That takes the pressure off all of us, me included," Caupain said.

PESKY DEFENSE

Cincinnati guard Justin Jenifer scored only six points but had three steals and helped to lead the strong closing flourish. Bearcats coach Mick Cronin envisions Jenifer as a defensive specialist who can change the game with pressure on the ball.

"He has really embraced it," Cronin said. "He was like Speedy Gonzalez out there. That's what he's got to be. I thought Justin really gave us an influx of energy."

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Cincinnati moved into the Top 25 on Monday after a season-opening 84-55 win over Brown. The Bearcats will have a chance to move up — or get knocked out — during their upcoming weekend tournament.

BIG PICTURE

Albany: The Great Danes opened the season with their first victory over a Big Ten team, winning at Penn State 87-81 on Friday. They kept it close against Cincinnati for more than a half, before their turnovers helped Cincinnati pull away.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats have struggled to hit outside shots the last few seasons, relying on their defense to generate points. They had the same issues on Monday, when they pulled away by getting 24 points off turnovers.

UP NEXT

Albany: Hosts Oneonta on Wednesday in its first home game.

Cincinnati: Plays No. 21 Rhode Island on Saturday in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tip-Off in Connecticut.

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